Use Money as Fuel to Power Your True Aspirations in Life


Recently I have been trying to cultivate a hyper-awareness of the things that bring me joy in life. Whenever I catch myself feeling especially happy or content with life, I quickly jot down what is giving me that feeling. 

Last night I made a list of the things that regularly bring me joy. This list included writing, drawing, playing piano, coding, building websites, making apps, spending time with family, working out, traveling, and being outdoors. Each of these brings me joy on a regular basis.

As I finished writing this list, I had a realization:

Right now my main priority in life is saving money as fast as possible, but the only reason I’m doing so is to have more time to spend on that list of things that brings me joy.

In an ideal world, I would wake up as early (or late) as I want and spend hours making music, writing blog posts, building apps, working out, and spending time outside. But the only way to sustain this type of lifestyle long-term is to have enough passive income so that I don’t have to spend most of my waking hours at a 9-5 job.

Hence my obsession with personal finance. Money is the fuel needed to power my true aspirations in life. I don’t aim to be a member of the 1% net worth club. I’m not hungry for the houses and the cars of the upper class. I’m hungry for freedom.

By focusing on how I can increase my income, reduce my expenses, and invest wisely to grow my wealth, I’m really just attempting to gain enough passive income to fuel my dream life. 

This is something people of all ages must realize (especially 20-somethings): Personal finance is not a boring topic your rich uncle Joe tries to talk to you about at family reunions. Personal finance holds the key to unlocking your ideal life.

If you really want to spend more time doing what you love, you have to get your finances on lock down. You have to set up systems that force you to save money. A lot of money.

To any 20-something out there who holds the belief “You might as well spend money because you can’t take it with you when you’re gone” or “money can’t buy happiness”, you’re setting yourself up for a life full of hardship and financial struggle.

Yes, money alone cannot buy happiness. But money is the most powerful tool on earth you can use to create a life overflowing with happiness thanks to the freedom it can buy.

Try this simple exercise: write down a list of things that genuinely make you happy on a regular basis. Maybe this includes spending time with family, friends, traveling, going outdoors, creating things, meditating, or whatever else. You know what brings you joy. Stare at this list and think about how much time you have each day to do these things. You probably wish you had more time to do these things.

Well I have good news: you can use money to gain the freedom to spend more time doing these things.

This is the greatest secret among bloggers in the personal finance community: We don’t love money, we love the time it can buy. Money is simply fuel to power big dreams. We all have aspirations, things we want to do, ways we truly want to spend our days, but the only way to gain the time to pursue these big dreams is to prioritize money.

Get a pile of money in the bank. Create passive income streams. Save enough money so that when the rent and utility bills come knocking at your door, you can make them go away with your savings and get back to doing what you love. 

The message I am preaching is simple: Everyone has a list of things they love doing in life. If you want to spend every waking day only doing this list of things, prioritize your finances. Use money as the fuel to power your true aspirations in life.

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10 Replies to “Use Money as Fuel to Power Your True Aspirations in Life”

  1. “Whenever I catch myself feeling especially happy or content with life, I quickly jot down what is giving me that feeling”

    That’s so crazy because I do this too….on a spreadsheet and update it from time to time. Recently I finished reading this a thriller novel by David Baldacci that I read many years ago and really enjoyed. I read it again and enjoyed it as well so I may add reading novels on the list. 🙂

    1. That’s funny you also do that! I have been trying to do it more and more lately, just to stay in tune with what brings me happiness. I also do it for anything that make me feel unhappy, so I can be sure to do less of those things. It’s nice to hear someone is else out there practicing this habit 🙂

  2. Hey Zach! I love your blog and have been reading for a few months now. I’m interested to hear your thoughts on this paradox I keep coming up against.

    Your thoughts on early retirement, minimalism, and frugality resonate deeply with me and tend to fall in line with my life philosophy. But what about the other side of the coin— instead of focusing so much on saving money now so you can retire early, why not focus on doing what you love now and work hard to make that sustain you long-term?

    I ask because I am also a creative person who tends to focus on the early retirement/minimalism/frugal spending as my path to creative freedom. But I often wonder about quitting my well-paying secure job to work at a restaurant (or a similar lower paying gig) that allows me to invest more time and energy into building a creative, fulfilling career.

    Many successful creatives advocate for this route, Chase Jarvis being one of them. He talks about this often on his podcast, and I always feel a pang of insecurity whenever it is brought up. I wonder if my early retirement route feels “too safe” and that I should be willing to take a financial risk to do work that I love. Am I really a “creative” if I am unwilling to quit my full-time job to focus on my creative work? If freedom is what we seek, shouldn’t our creative passions be the way?

    In the end, I think it comes down to personal preference and feeling secure in my creative work, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

      1. Thank you so much for writing this post. It resonated with me so deeply. It also feels good to know there are others who aren’t focusing on financial independence as the end goal.

  3. Very well said, Zach. Can you talk to my kids… all young adults now? Not sure I am getting through to them… or, possibly, I’m a little impatient. 🙂

  4. Really well put Zach. In this article you have basically summed up my philosophy on the pursuit of FI. Keep it up, really enjoying your content. You’ve set a high bar to which I am working towards matching as we bring content to our blog!

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